Mark M. Cheser 35 Years of Criminal Defense Experience
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Drugs and driving

The recent arrest of famed golfer Tiger Woods has shined a spotlight on a problem that is on the rise in New Jersey and across the nation. More and more drivers are getting behind the wheel while under the influence of drugs, and it is a significant public safety hazard.

As the Plam Beach Post reports, a 2015 report by the Governors Highway Safety Association stated that 43 percent of drivers who died in car crashes had drugs in their systems at the time of the accident. In 2005 that number was only 27 percent. Much like Woods, who said he was taking a prescription drug prescribed by his doctor, people are taking powerful medications without fully realizing the effects that they can have behind the wheel. While blood alcohol content measurements have certain correlations to behavior on the road, the same cannot be said for drugs. There is not an accepted amount of any drug, prescription or otherwise, in a driver's blood, and with so many drugs on the market, the effects cannot be easily predicted across the board. As The Atlantic explains, the drugs are both harder to test for than alcohol, and there is less agreement on how much is too much.

In addition to prescription pill usage, more and more drivers are using illicit drugs. Evening and weekend drug use amongst drivers went from 12.4 percent in 2007 to 15.1 percent five years later. The rise of THC in drivers' systems was especially prevalent: experts saw a 48 percent rise between 2007 and 2013. Marijuana is the most common drug found in drivers' systems, followed by amphetamines. 

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